It’s been a big decade for comic books, and there is plenty of amazing stuff to pick from when looking for the decade’s best.
It’s no easy task to sort through ten years’ worth of comics, but if you did, one title consistently rises to the top of even the staunchest critics’ “best of” list. When it comes to epic superhero action and riveting story telling, it’s hard to image it getting any better than Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men.
Whedon has always been a top-notch writer. He is the creative force behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and the recently canceled (ugh) Dollhouse which has built a cult following like none other, and for a good reason. Astonishing X-Men showcases Whedon’s mastery of the written word and is quite possibly the best run the mutant misfits have seen since the Claremont and Byrne era.
Part of a growing trend of film and television writers putting out graphic novels, Whedon has perhaps made the smoothest jump into the world of comics, as unfortunate souls who have read the likes of Kevin Smith’s Batman will tell you. Unlike many of his peers, Whedon strayed from telling classic fanboy dream stories, and instead pushed the X-Men in a whole new and completely awesome direction.
The entire twenty-five issue series is set-up not unlike a TV show, with a plot that unfolds slowly, all while barreling towards one hell of a season finale. It’s funny, daring, emotional and absolutely game-changing. Not only does Whedon introduce his devoted worshippers to the world of the X-Men, he manages to make longtime readers look at the book in a whole new light.
His dialogue, his characterization of Wolverine and his brand new characters, like the fabulous Agent Brand, breathe life into the once-stale monthly comic. When you add the artwork of John Cassaday, one of the medium’s greatest pencilers, the deal gets that much sweeter.
Finally, Marvel has collected the entire Whedon/Cassaday Astonishing X-Men in a gorgeous hardcover. While the price of this omnibus can be a strain on the pocketbook (around 75 bucks), it is worth every penny if you’re a fan of Whedon, the X-Men, or just good old-fashioned superhero action.